Traveling by Train in Central Europe

This must be what it’s like to live in a tiny house

We paid for a reservation for a sleeper car on the overnight train from Prague to Krakow. We weren’t sure if our print out was sufficient or if we needed something else, so I went to the info guy and showed him my thing and asked if it was OK and he said “yeah yeah yeah” in a way that indicated I was annoying him.

So long story short it, reservations =/= tickets. APPARENTLY – I googled this later – a ticket pays for “an” seat and a reservation pays for a specific seat. It is possible to have a reservation without a ticket if you have a EuroRail pass. Obviously we did not. So the conductor asked for our tickets, we gave him our reservation, and he said we still had to give him tickets. We didn’t have any!

The conductor was very nice about it. We asked if we could buy a ticket and he said he could sell us a ticket to the last Czech stop and then we’d have to buy a ticket from the Polish conductor for the rest of the trip.  Even though it’s 2017, it’s still Europe, and for some reason credit cards were a problem. The thing I don’t quite understand is the Czech conductor was going to sell us a ticket and charge our card but the Polish conductor was going to be unable to take card. Then the Czech conductor went away for a while, came back, and then suddenly HE could not take cards but he assured us the Polish conductor would be able to. Wha???

Check out my Euro jacket

Bren asked if he could buy the ticket on his phone which luckily was OK. Not so luckily, we were on a train that was going in and out of service areas so it took a solid 20 minutes to complete it. The website was all in Czech so the conductor had to do half of it for us. Finally we were able to buy a ticket online – to the last Czech stop, not sure why we couldn’t just buy through to Krakow – and we were told the Polish conductor would come sell us the rest of the ticket.

We basically did not sleep because of fear of being kicked off at the border. Then we arrived in Krakow – no sign of the Polish conductor. I asked one of the train staff about it and he said that she must have just been lazy about it and we got off the train real fast before anybody could say anything to us about it.

So that’s how we got a discounted overnight ticket but I would have rather paid the money and had a good night’s sleep!